DIY Gobos

Most home and project studios aren’t spacious enough to allow much distance or isolation for recording. And more importantly, a room with too many reflections and standing waves will not get you a great sounding recording even with the best equipment and performers. But using gobos are a great way to create some isolation and also to close in a space from reflections, much like what vocal booths are used for. Commercial gobos can be very expensive, especially if they are custom made to fit your studio, but with some common materials and a little bit of time you can save hundreds of dollars and build your own gobos to fit your space and your needs. I recently did just that and was surprised at how easy and inexpensive it was. This method uses PVC pipe so it’s  really flexible and you can customize something similar for your studio.The first unit I built stands about seven feet tall and the surface is two feet wide by four feet tall. The frame is PVC pipe, the panel is Auralex Mineral Fiber, and it’s finished off with some fabric I picked up in the bargain bin at a local fabric store.

PVC Pipe/Fittings ($20)
PVC Glue ($5)
Straps ($12)
Auralex Mineral Fiber ($20)
Fabric ($12)

Total $69



First determine the size of the surface that you will be building for. In this case it was a 2′ x 4′ Auralex mineral fiber panel.  This is being used mostly for recording vocals so I wanted it to sit higher up off the ground to block out room reflections.






The base of the legs use a “double tee” with two 90 degree elbows attached.






The base of the surface uses a “sanitary tee” which allows you to run the pipe across horizontally and continue running the pipe vertically to the top.






One more set of 90 degree fittings are used to complete the top corners.








Now that you have the structure built the tricky part is getting the mineral fiber to stay in place. I had good luck using a couple of light-load straps that I found for a few dollars each at the local home improvement store

CUTTING PIPE – I had access to a miter saw which made cutting the pipe lengths really easy. You can also use a Sawzall or similar. PVC cutting tools can also be found at your local hardware store. When measuring the pipe for your surface be sure to account for 3/4′ on each side where the pipe inserts into the fitting. For my two foot horizontal run I cut a length of pipe 25.5 inches. Also, be aware that PVC pipe is toxic when heated up so work in a ventilated room and use a mask.

GLUING – Make sure that your pipe ends and fittings are clean and be aware that PVC glue dries very quickly.

Finally, measure around the frame for the fabric then cut and sew it into a large pillow case. Slip it over the top and your gobo is complete.








* I was able to locate some Auralex mineral fiber panels for sale Craigslist which brought the cost of the panel down to around $5. As an alternative, you could try some other rigid insulation boards that can be found at a home improvement store. They may not be quite as effective but still do the job.


About Dan Abreu

Music, Audio, Video, Technology and other fun stuff
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2 Responses to DIY Gobos

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Dan’s Blog » DIY Gobos --

  2. Jan says:

    Late to the show but pretty nice! Will be trying this

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